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Full-Text Articles in Law

Sentencing In Tax Cases After Booker: Striking The Right Balance Between Uniformity And Discretion, Scott A. Schumacher Jan 2014

Sentencing In Tax Cases After Booker: Striking The Right Balance Between Uniformity And Discretion, Scott A. Schumacher

Articles

It has been nearly ten years since the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in United States v. Booker, in which the Court invalidated the mandatory application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In the cases that followed, the Court addressed subsidiary issues regarding the application of the Guidelines and the scope of appellate review. However, despite — or perhaps because of — these opinions, there is little consensus regarding the status and extent of appellate review, as well as the discretion afforded sentencing courts. More troubling, what consensus there is seems to permit judges to impose any sentence they wish, as …


Presumed Guilty, Terrence Cain Nov 2013

Presumed Guilty, Terrence Cain

Faculty Scholarship

It would probably surprise the average American to learn that prosecutors need only prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt sometimes. Although the Due Process Clauses of the Constitution require that the government prove each element of an alleged criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, the use of statutory presumptions has relieved the government of this responsibility, and in some cases, has even shifted the burden to the defendant to disprove the presumption. Likewise, the Sixth Amendment grants a criminal defendant the right to have the jury and the jury alone determine whether the government has met its burden and ultimately …


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising throughout the post-arrest justice process, extending beyond the …


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal inference …


Did Booker Increase Sentencing Disparity? Why The Evidence Is Unpersuasive, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2013

Did Booker Increase Sentencing Disparity? Why The Evidence Is Unpersuasive, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

The Sentencing Commission’s recent report on the effects of United States v.Booker makes a number of very worri- some claims.The most alarming is that the gap in sen- tences between otherwise similar Black and White men has nearly quadrupled: from 4.5 percent before Booker, to 15 percent after it, to 19.5 percent after United States v. Kimbrough and United States v.Gall. 1 The Commission further claims that interjudge disparity has increased in two-thirds of the federal districts, and that interdistrict variation has also increased.2 If its findings were accurate, and if these changes could be causally attributed to Booker and …


The Process Is The Problem: Lessons Learned From United States Drug Sentencing Reform, Erik S. Siebert Jan 2010

The Process Is The Problem: Lessons Learned From United States Drug Sentencing Reform, Erik S. Siebert

Law Student Publications

This paper serves to fill that gap, using the history, players, and processes involved as a means to refocus sentencing reform. Part II provides a historical overview of drug sentencing from its conception to its current state. Part III looks at drug sentencing reforms, identifying the players involved and explaining their diverse motivations. Part IV presents lessons learned and proposes a moderate set of normative remedies.


Why March To A Uniform Beat? Adding Honesty And Proportionality To The Tune Of Federal Sentencing, Jelani Jefferson Exum Jan 2010

Why March To A Uniform Beat? Adding Honesty And Proportionality To The Tune Of Federal Sentencing, Jelani Jefferson Exum

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

This Article fills a gap in current scholarship concerning the Federal Sentencing Guidelines ("Guidelines") by bringing together many sentencing concerns and refocusing them on the Guidelines themselves. Since United States v. Booker, in which the Supreme Court demoted the Guidelines from mandatory to advisory status and imposed reasonableness as the appellate standard of review, several scholars have written about the new, advisory Guidelines scheme. Some have focused on the constitutional problems that Booker failed to settle. Others have argued against a presumption of reasonableness for within-Guidelines sentences. For some scholars, the biggest issues with the advisory Guidelines regime …


Prosecutorial Discretion In The Shadow Of Advisory Guidelines And Mandatory Minimums, Michael A. Simons Jan 2010

Prosecutorial Discretion In The Shadow Of Advisory Guidelines And Mandatory Minimums, Michael A. Simons

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

Imagine the following rather run-of-the-mill crime spree:

Three young men, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty and without significant criminal histories, get together to rob a convenience store in New York City. They take an unloaded an inoperable gun, go into the store, point the gun at the clerk behind the counter, and take a few hundred dollars from the cash register. Flush with success, they decide to do it again, this time at a jewelry store down the block. One of the young men points the unloaded gun at the store employees, another stands guard by the …


Federal Criminal Appeals: A Brief Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise Jan 2009

Federal Criminal Appeals: A Brief Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Although few dispute the appellate process's centrality to justice systems, especially in the criminal context, debates over rationales supporting the appellate process's vaunted status in adjudication systems persist. Clearly, it is difficult to overestimate error correction as a justification for an appellate system. Of course, other rationales, such as a desire for lawmaking and legitimacy, also support the inclusion of a mechanism for appellate review in an adjudication system.

Though comparative latecomers, appellate courts are now ubiquitous in the American legal landscape—appellate review exists in state and federal systems for criminal convictions. Despite general agreement and widespread understanding that access …


The Effects Of Booker On Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity, Ryan W. Scott Jan 2009

The Effects Of Booker On Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity, Ryan W. Scott

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


The More Things Change: A Psychological Case Against Allowing The Federal Sentencing Guidelines To Stay The Same In Light Of Gall, Kimbrough, And New Understandings Of Reasonableness Review, Jelani Jefferson Exum Jan 2008

The More Things Change: A Psychological Case Against Allowing The Federal Sentencing Guidelines To Stay The Same In Light Of Gall, Kimbrough, And New Understandings Of Reasonableness Review, Jelani Jefferson Exum

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

In December 2007, through two decisions, the Supreme Court sought to clean up the confusion that it created just shy of three years earlier when it rendered the Federal Sentencing Guidelines advisory in United States v. Booker and called for circuit courts to begin reviewing sentences for "unreasonableness." In one of those December decisions, Gall v. United States, the Court clarified what it meant by reasonableness review and explained that such review had both a procedural and substantive component. In the other decision, Kimbrough v. United States, the Court gave more meaning to the substantive component, …


Criminal Rules Amendments Effective As Of December 2007, David A. Schlueter Jan 2008

Criminal Rules Amendments Effective As Of December 2007, David A. Schlueter

Faculty Articles

A number of amendments to the Federal Rules of Procedure and Evidence became effective on December 1, 2007. Criminal Rule 11 was amended to conform the rule to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, which held that the sections in the federal sentencing statute that made pleas mandatory violated the fifth and sixth constitutional amendments. Criminal Rule 32 was made to conform to United States v. Booker by making it clear that the court may require the probation office to include in the presentence report information relevant to factors set out in 18 U.S.C § 3553(a). The …


Improving Criminal Jury Decision Making After The Blakely Revolution, J. J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2006

Improving Criminal Jury Decision Making After The Blakely Revolution, J. J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

The shift in sentencing fact-finding responsibility triggered in many states by Blakely v. Washington may dramatically change the complexity and type of questions that juries will be required to answer. Among the most important challenges confronting legislatures now debating the future of their sentencing regimes is whether juries are prepared to handle this new responsibility effectively - and, if not, what can be done about it. Yet neither scholars addressing the impact of Blakely nor advocates of jury reform have seriously explored these questions. Nonetheless, a number of limitations on juror decision making seriously threaten the accuracy of verdicts in …


"Reasonably Predictable:" The Reluctance To Embrace Judicial Discretion For Substantial Assistance Procedures, India Geronimo Thusi Jan 2006

"Reasonably Predictable:" The Reluctance To Embrace Judicial Discretion For Substantial Assistance Procedures, India Geronimo Thusi

Articles by Maurer Faculty

This Comment focuses on the nuances of post-Booker cooperation departures and sentence variances. Section 5K1.1 of the Guidelines governs the provision of cooperation, or substantial assistance, departures. This provision was the primary method for defendants to receive cooperation departures prior to Booker. The section 5K1.1 provision allowed substantial assistance departures where the prosecution actually benefited from the defendant’s cooperation.

First, Part I.A of this Comment will provide an overview of the original goals of the Sentencing Commission and the section 5K1.1 substantial assistance provision. Part I.B of the Comment summarizes United States v. Booker and its impact on cooperation departures. …


The Under-Appreciated Value Of Advisory Guidelines, Erica J. Hashimoto Jan 2006

The Under-Appreciated Value Of Advisory Guidelines, Erica J. Hashimoto

Scholarly Works

The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 provided that the trial court "shall impose a sentence of the kind, and within the range" set forth in the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("Guidelines") issued by the Sentencing Commission. With that one phrase, the Act created a system of guidelines that was binding upon judges, rather than simply advisory. Concerns about excessive disparity and undue leniency in sentencing unquestionably drove the political coalition that passed the Act. It is not clear, however, why Congress believed that mandatory-as opposed to advisory-guidelines were necessary to address those concerns. With the benefit of hindsight, it is …